meet the Expert
A childhood honeybee enthusiast, Ranjith Wasantha Kumara Punchihewa realized the value of honeybees’ ecological and economic importance as an undergraduate at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. He later conducted in-depth studies on flower-visiting insects and pollination ecology at the Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph, Canada and Toronto Beekeepers’.
Association recognized his work through a grant in 1983. He then studied the reproductive behavior of the indigenous honeybee Apis cerana at the Zoological Institute, University of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. In 1980 he joined Sri Lanka Agricultural Service and engaged in scientific research related to the development of Beekeeping industry in Sri Lanka. The results of his studies on effectively rearing of honeybees in agro-eco systems are presented through a beekeeping manual for tropical monsoonal Asia. In 2002 he joined the academia of the University of Ruhuna in Sri Lanka at the Dept of Agricultural Biology where he taught Entomology, Apiculture, Pollination ecology and Agroecosystem health.
He has travelled widely studying and interacting with beekeeping in Asia, Europe and North America. He is at ease with A mellifera beekeeping. He is a Fulbright Senior Fellow in the USA. His work with a major pollinator, the giant honeybee of Asia is presented by National Geographic Society. His participation in scientific investigations to reduce carbon foot printing caused by exotic honeybees in large scale orchard pollination with native wild bees was a major study he undertook in California was an initiation to develop “Pollinator Conservation National Action Plan” for Sri Lanka.
Currently engaged fulltime in Beekeeping Development, Pollinator Conservation & Utilization and in Organic Farming Research and Development work with several Government Ministries and Institutions in Sri Lanka.